Linda Bentz and Todd J. Braje

Abstract

Shortly after the California Gold Rush, the first commercial abalone fishery sprang to life along the central and southern Californian coast, an industry founded and developed by Chinese immigrants. By shipping dried black abalone (Haliotis cracherodii) to Chinese communities in the American West, and exporting the product to a ready market in China, Chinese merchants assembled an elaborate trade network that reached from Santa Barbara, California, to China. Here, we offer the first synthesis of archaeological and historical data that describes the elements of Chinese export activities interpreted through a trading diaspora framework. Our results reveal details about an international trade network supported by the formation of self-governing business associations, relationships with trading partners, and interactions with European Americans. This study fills a critical gap in our understanding of the broader context of California’s historical fisheries and contextualizes the strategies of Chinese merchants who took advantage of new opportunities presented by a changing Pacific economy.

Edited by Hong Liu and Min Zhou

Ethnic Identity and Immigrant Organizations

The Deployment of Ethnicity by Chinese in South Australia

Abstract

The identities of Chinese immigrants and their organizations are themes widely studied in existing literature but the link between them remains under-researched. This paper seeks to explore the role of Chinese ethnicity in Chinese immigrants’ self-organizing processes by empirically studying Chinese community organizations in South Australia. It finds that Chinese immigrants have deployed ethnic identities together with other social identities to call different organizations into being, which exerts an important influence on the emergence and performance of the five major types of Chinese community organizations active in South Australia. Moreover, the ways in which Chineseness is deployed have been heavily influenced by three factors within and beyond the community. These factors are the transformation of the local ethnic-Chinese community, changing socio-political contexts in Australia, and the rise of China. In short, the deployment of ethnic identities in Chinese immigrants’ organizing processes is instrumental, contextual, and strategic.

Elizabeth Susanti Gunawan

Abstract

In the Suharto era (1966-1998), there were eight discriminatory regulations toward regarding Chinese Indonesians that effectively banned the use of Chinese language and culture in public. For three decades, these regulations forced Chinese Indonesians to forget about Chinese language and culture and embedded anti-Chinese sentiment into non-Chinese Indonesians. After the end of the Suharto era, some regulations annulled the previous regulations, thus allowing Chinese culture including Chinese language to be practiced in public again. It created an unexpected Chinese boom. An increasing number of Indonesian students went to China to study the Chinese language. Today, many Indonesian students (Chinese Indonesians and non-Chinese Indonesians) not only study Chinese but have started to enroll in various faculties for degree programs in Chinese universities. This article uses statistical data and interviews in an attempt to explain Indonesian students’ reasons for studying in China and their degree preferences.

Into the New Wonder House

Visual Images and World-Making in a Buddhist Temple in Chinatown Amsterdam

Paramita Paul

Abstract

This article explores a series of images at the Foguangshan He Hua Temple in Chinatown Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It considers images in the temple’s halls and on its websites, and it investigates the spectacle of He Hua’s activities, to understand how these images contribute to debates on Chinese transnational experience. What are visual forms of He Hua’s images? How do they comment on the nature of “Chineseness” and cultural identity for one of the oldest Chinatowns in Europe? The article argues that the He Hua Temple is a new “Wonder House”, in Stanley Abe’s use of the term. It functions as an established site of knowledge, where objects are recast and appropriated into a new taxonomy of order. The article shows that the temple is an effort at artistic world-making, and that it exists as a space for questioning issues of tradition, culture and identity.

Abstract

This article mainly draws on Kam Louie’s wen/wu paradigm of Chinese masculinities and R. W. Connell’s concept of hegemonic masculinity to examine the representation of diasporic Chinese wen masculinities in the popular Chinese television drama A Native of Beijing in New York and Ha Jin’s novel A Free Life. The article argues that the two texts suggest there is no monolithic and static diasporic masculinity among contemporary immigrant Chinese wen men in the US; rather, immigrant Chinese wen men are constantly negotiating, forming and performing their diasporic masculinity according to their specific financial conditions, personal aspirations, as well as the economic situations in China.